Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and, giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women; and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you, who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”
And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my savior! He has looked upon his servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is his Name! From age to age, his mercy extends to those who live in his presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden.
He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty. He held out his hand to Israel, his servant, for he remembered his mercy, even as he promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.
When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her, and they rejoiced with her.
When, on the eighth day, they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father.
The word “assumption” comes from the Latin verb “assumere,” which means: to take up. And so, on today’s feast we are celebrating the taking up of Mary into Heaven body and soul. In other words, we are celebrating the fact that Mary’s body never experienced decay and was immediately glorified at the end of her earthly pilgrimage. And we rejoice over the fact that our Mother is glorified in her entire being. In this connection, two considerations come to mind.
The first is related to what was said yesterday about being “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1). Mary is among that cloud of witnesses. She is marvelously close to us, closer than we could ever imagine. And she helps us in all possible ways on our journey Godward.
The second consideration is that this feast is also about our own future. For we, too, will one day be taken up into Heaven—though not with our present body, as in the case of Mary—and we will be given a new body, a glorified and spiritual body, which will be a marvel of sheer beauty. Mary’s present glorification is an anticipation of what will one day happen to us.
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